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Committee recommends new direction for Economic Development
Chamber contract could be terminated; city may hire a full-time coordinator
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A new sunflower-themed mural is planned for the Great Bend Chamber of Commerce wall in cooperation with the Barton Arts Movement group. - photo by Tribune file photo

A Great Bend City Council committee recommends ending the city’s Economic Development contract with the Great Bend Chamber of Commerce and hiring a full-time employee to coordinate economic development, city officials announced Tuesday.

Mayor Joe Andrasek appointed a five-person committee in May that included himself and council members Jolene Biggs, Cory Urban, Dana Dawson and Chad Somers; however, Somers has since resigned from the city council. The committee’s charge was to analyze the method by which the City conducts its economic development activities.

The City issued a press release Tuesday morning, stating the committee is ready to make an Economic Development contract recommendation. It states that the committee met on five separate occasions, including once with members of the Great Bend Chamber of Commerce Executive Committee.

“The committee hereby recommends terminating the Agreement for Services for Great Bend Economic Development Activities, with the Great Bend Chamber of Commerce, and hiring a full-time staff position to coordinate economic development activities. This position will be held in direct oversight by an Executive Committee comprised of members of the city’s governing body as well as representation from the Great Bend Chamber of Commerce,” the statement reads.

“Furthermore, they recommend the creation of an Economic Development Advisory Council, appointed by the mayor, to communicate, coordinate and provide scaled discussion and input regarding economic development.  

Per the agreement ‘unless otherwise mutually agreed upon, any termination shall not become effective until the end of the then-current term.’  The current term ends December 31, 2019.  

“Additionally, the committee acknowledges the importance of the role which the Chamber plays in supporting local business and industry. As such, they recommend the Chamber be given the opportunity to make an agency funding request for FY 2020.”